Monday 17 June 2019

Cleaner Swords keeps moving up litter league

Swords Castle
Swords Castle

Nicola Donnelly

SWORDS has jumped one place in the first round of the 2014 Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) Anti-Litter League results in what judges have described as a 'highly creditable result.'

There has been marked improvements in a number of areas, including the Riverwalk and Swords Park and Swords Castle environs.

The town has moved up one place on last year's results to 17th place, which Swords Tidy Towns chairman Ken Duffy said was great news for the town.

Ken, who only recently took on the role as chairman after the death of the late Des Becton, said he was delighted there had been such an improvement in both Swords and Dublin Airport Environs rankings in the league.

'It is great that the town of Swords has improved yet again in the Litter League,' Ken told the Fingal Independent.

'We have now gotten a lot of local businesses on board to sponsor the Tidy Towns which is a great help and we have more volunteers helping out to keep the town clean,' he added.

The IBAL reports that although the Riverwalk has improved, there is still some way to go before it could get the top litter grade, noting that major work has taken place since the last IBAL Anti-Litter survey.

It noted the shrubbery along the river bank had been cut right back, leaving nowhere for litter to hide. 'Now the only litter was along the pathway – all food-related. There were heavy levels of graffiti throughout this site,' the report noted.

Some of the top-ranking sites in Swords included Airside Retail Park, the residential area of Ciarlea and the Dublin Road but the report noted there was a high number of vacant outlets at the top of Main Street, towards Swords Castle.

The report stated that Airside Retail Park, which received a Grade A mark, was in very good condition.

'The outdoor seating area at McDonald's was spotless and the car park surface/signage and markings were excellent. It is very well served by cigarette butt units,' the report said.

The Dublin Road, which also received a Grade A mark, was described as being a well-presented and maintained route passing through a mix of residential units, a school and leading to shops.

The report noted that there had been 'some improvement' at the recycling facility beside Final Environment buildings and gave it a Grade B mark. 'Compared to the last few IBAL surveys in the past it had been in a terrible state,' the report stated.

'However, it was still grubby in appearance and the area at the base of the bins and between/behind the bins needs to be more thoroughly cleaned in order for the site to get the top litter grade,' the report continued.

There was a virtual absence of litter along the R125 Ashbourne Road, along the M50-M1 Junction-R106 Dublin Airport to Swords Road and in Ciarlea residential development. The report praised the individual gardens which were well maintained.

Swords Park and Castle environs received a Grade A mark and the report noted that a fresh and clean notice board had been put in place instead of the old board, which it noted was 'grubby, covered in graffiti and difficult to read'.

It noted that many of the benches and bins within the park had been painted and looked fresh while graffiti had been removed from the castle itself.

Fingal Community College is another area which received a Grade A mark, with the report noting that the area directly outside the grounds and the area visible from the outside were clear of litter and well maintained.

Swords Main Street received a Grade B result and was noted as a 'moderately littered site'.

The report stated that much of the scattered litter was food-related and that vacant premises were an obvious feature, especially at the top of the street near Swords Castle. A disused Chinese restaurant had become a magnet for graffiti, litter and fly-posting.

Conor Horgan of IBAL said having a Tidy Towns committee in any town would make a huge difference.

'A single Tidy Towns committee can make an enormous difference to the cleanliness of any given town,' said Conor.

'In cities, communities tend to be less obvious and relying on volunteers to clean up a large urban area is not feasible.

'However, establishing groups has to be part of any urban authority's plan in the current cost environment.

'It's not just the physical work these groups carry out, it's the sense of responsibility they create which rubs off on the whole community.

'If people see their neighbours picking up litter, they are less likely to litter themselves,' he said.

Fingal Independent